mercedes nc student of the year 2017 resized

A Northampton College student has been given the chance to impress bosses at the F1 world champions having landed a week’s work experience for being crowned Student of the Year.

Mechanical engineering student James Collins will get the opportunity to work alongside some of the industry’s brightest brains at Mercedes’ Brixworth base this summer, and will also be fast-tracked onto their apprenticeship selection programme early next year.

The award vindicates the 28-year-old’s decision to leave his job as a petrol station supervisor and follow his dream of working in engineering.

He said: “I was fed up of working 60 hour weeks and earning peanuts. I was living in Reading at the time and my mum had moved up to Northampton. I decided to follow her and find myself a place on a course where I could retrain and earn the qualifications to work in an industry I loved.

“I went to the same school as Ross Brawn, so it’s brilliant to potentially have the chance to follow him into the world of F1 with Mercedes.

“The course has been fantastic. It’s challenged me to think for myself and with greater independence. The teaching has been first class and I’m considering going to university now to get as highly qualified as possible.”

James is the latest in a long line of Northampton College students to be selected to get a taste of life in the Mercedes team and he will now have the platform to showcase his skills and potentially win a permanent role with the F1 giants, helping to develop the cars driven by the likes of Lewis Hamilton.

Lee Walters, Employee Development Manager for Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains said: "It is critical for us to maintain a pipeline of talented apprentices into HPP as the future Engineering Technicians; in order to facilitate this, it is extremely important to have a close partnership with education providers.

"Receiving this award is the first stepping stone to fantastic engineering opportunities in Mercedes AMG HPP and in Formula 1 as whole. Congratulations to James on behalf of our Managing Director, Andy Cowell, and the team at HPP."

James was put forward for the chance to work with Mercedes having won the Student of the Year award, for which he also received £500.

Tutor Neil Tobin said: “I am delighted that James has been given this opportunity. It is the perfect reward for his hard work over the year and he has shown exceptional ability and determination. He is bright, dedicated and committed to learning. He has put in the effort and he is now reaping the rewards.

“We enjoy an excellent relationship with Mercedes and it is pleasing to see so many of our former students now excelling as part of a team that is the envy of the Formula 1 industry. Hopefully James can now push on and become part of the team himself.”

For more information on engineering courses available at Northampton College please visit

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Lauren Henley

Lauren Henley

Lauren who studied level 3 Business said, ‘I had no idea about the alternative to school and A Levels and found that the style of learning at college suited me...



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